Georgiana Wins First State Crown with Overtime Win Over Two-time Defending State Champion Covenant Christian

Class 1A Finals kick off 2024 State Basketball Championships

By Josh Bean | For the AHSAA

BIRMINGHAM – During a timeout late in the fourth quarter of Thursday night’s AHSAA Class 1A boys’ state championship game, Georgiana coach Kirk Norris barked orders to his team as they walked to the huddle at the BJCC’s Legacy Arena.
Much of his wrath seemed to be directed towards guard Jacobie Morgan, who showed little emotion.

“I said, ‘Calm down, I promise I won’t let you down,’” Morgan said after the game.

The 6-foot-1 junior was true to his word.

Morgan fed teammate Jaden Stallworth for a layup for the first basket of overtime – giving the Panthers their first lead since it was 2-0 – and added three free throws in the extra period to help Georgiana (28-3) earn its first state championship in any sport with a 55-44 victory over two-time defending Class 1A champ Covenant Christian, coached by Bret Waldrep.

“It’s been a long time coming for our school,” said Georgiana’s Norris, who captured his 599th career coaching victory in his 17th season at the small school in Butler County with the win. “I couldn’t be happier. I’m still in shock. … It’s one of the happiest days of my life.”

Two Georgiana starters fouled out, Kaveon Miles and Nasir Cheatham, and two others finished the overtime game with four fouls.

Four Covenant Christian players fouled out, including leading scorers Trey Kellogg and Jalen Chandler near the end of regulation. Chandler fouled out with 1:20 to go, followed by Kellogg with 35.8 seconds to go.

The Eagles (26-9) tried to hold on with a patchwork lineup featuring two eighth graders, but Morgan got fouled on a putback attempt with 4.4 seconds to go in regulation. He made the first free throw to tie the game at 42-all, but missed the second and the game went to overtime.

With Miles and Cheatham on the bench, Morgan took over in overtime.

“I think he did a tremendous job of stepping up and taking control of the game,” Norris said, “in the biggest moment of his career.”

Georgiana outscored Covenant 13-2 in overtime. A total of 53 fouls were called, 22 on the Panthers and 31 on the Eagles. Georgiana finished 30-of-42 at the foul line, and Covenant sank 12-of-17.

“I don’t think I’ve ever coached a game in 11 years when four guys fouled out,” Waldrep said. “I think any team would struggle when that happens. … We hate the way it ended, but I know when the pain goes away, they can be proud of what they accomplished.”

Morgan was named tournament MVP after tallying 20 points, eight rebounds, three assists and two steals, and Cheatham had 12 points. For Covenant, Chandler and Kellogg had 15 points apiece, and Chandler added six rebounds, five assists and four blocked shots.

The 2024 State Finals continues Friday with championship games in Classes 2A, 3A and 4A. Classes 5A, 6A and 7A close out the 2024 state tourney on Saturday.

Click here to check out schedules and scores from the 2024 AHSAA State Finals.

All games are being live streamed over the NFHS Network’s subscriber-based platform and live on the AHSAA TV Network. All 14 state championship games are being aired live over the Alabama Public Television Network for the second straight year and live streamed over the NFHS Network.

Jacobi Morgan, Georgiana (MVP); Nasir Cheatham, Georgiana; Jalen Chandler, Covenant Christian; Trey Kellogg, Covenant Christian; Zeier Golden, Skyline; Taylor Robinson, Calhoun.

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